What is Carb Cycling ? How Does Carb Cycling Work?

Carbohydrate is very much a necessity for our body, but in excess leads to weight gain. The challenge lies in taking it in just the right amount, at right times. Carb cycling helps in losing weight by manipulating carbohydrate consumption by minimizing negative effects. Carb cycling is a way of  dieting that involves planned increases and decreases in carbohydrate intake.  This diet format which started with athletes and fitness models is now a favorite among common people to  lose weight.

How Carb Cycling Works

In carb cycling, the week gets divided into: no carb days, low-carb days and high-carb days

Carb cycling for Fat loss

NO CARB DAYS: Include vegetables in diet like leafy greens, onions, peppers and mushrooms along with good source of protein and fat in moderation. Total carb intake must be less than 25 grams per day.

Carb cycling for Fat loss

LOW CARB DAYS:  Total carb intake that comes from food intake must be less than 75 grams per day. Add in along with  veggies small portions of  any carbohydrate food like rice, rotis, potatoes and fruit.

Carb cycling for Fat loss

HIGH CARB DAYS: Women can consume between 150 and 200 grams whereas men can have up to 300 grams. But this also depends on physical activity level.  This day can be made into a day for cheat meal too, but do not binge eat.

This alternate cycle of No carb, Low carb and High carb will help to balance out energy requirement without making body to gain excess fat.

Simple science of Carb Cycling

Carb cycling enables muscle growth and fat loss simultaneously, by influencing the hormones, namely insulin, serotonin, leptin and cortisol. Low-carb and no-carb days promote insulin sensitivity and minimize fat storage, while high-carb days encourage muscle growth.  Carbohydrates are essential for maintaining  mood enhancing hormone serotonin. By opting for carb cycling, the level of serotonin levels stays at optimum.  Leptin, the satiety hormone, responsible for blocking hunger and controlling appetite is kept under control with this diet. Carb cycling stop the build-up of cortisol and helps to promote muscle growth and avoid muscle catabolism.

Carb Cycle: Things you need to know

  • The best part about this diet plan is that, since carb cycle also includes high carb day it will help to fight off cravings and makes it easier to adhere to the program
  • To get best results from this diet plan, one must opt to work out at length on high carb diet days
  • Choose Carbohydrates wisely. Opt for food high in simple glucose or complex carbs that will break down into glucose.  Complex carbs like corn starch with more of fructose can get converted into body fat
  • Reduce overall  fat intake on high carb days

Word of Caution

Do understand one thing, Carb cycling is not designed as a long-term solution for body fat management. Body can handle short-term carbohydrate deprivation very well, but if it is followed for a long period it can harm the body.

5 Responses

  1. This is a very interesting concept, Hena. As you said, there are high carb days which satiate our cravings, so little chance of cheating on the diet. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Anagha Yatin says:

    Absolutely new concept! Appears balanced as well. By nature it is not monotonous as well. Wont mind giving it a try.

  3. This is very interesting, it could help to handle binging. It triggers a vague memory of vrtta done.. will check it up and get back.

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